Sunday, September 26, 2021


New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.


The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Note to BLM on NM's Chaco Canyon: 'The Public is Watching'


Monday, May 20, 2019   

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After a shortened public-comment period, the Bureau of Land Management is planning to open land in the Greater Chaco region to more oil and gas development, even as Congress considers legislation to protect the culturally significant area.

Miya King-Flaherty with the Rio Grande Sierra Club said the BLM is proposing up to 40 new fracking wells and 22 miles of new pipeline northwest of the community of Lybrook on the Navajo Nation. Previous administrations followed the National Environmental Policy Act and held 60-day public-comment periods, she said. But this one was only 10 days.

"The public just doesn't have ample time to be able to comment or oppose, or provide their reasons for why continued expansion of fracking is going to be a detriment to the area,” King-Flaherty said.

In Congress, the Chaco Cultural Heritage Protection Act would prevent any future leasing or mineral development on federal lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco National Historical Park. Earlier this month, in a win for environmental groups, a federal court ruled some previous oil and gas drilling and fracking permits approved by the BLM for the region were illegal.

The appeals court ruling stemmed from a 2015 lawsuit holding the BLM failed to consider the cumulative impacts to air, water and the Navajo Nation in its environmental assessment. Kyle Tisdel, energy program director and attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, noted the court reversed only 25 drilling permits - but said it was still a big win.

"I think not only will it reset the agency in terms of its decision-making processes going forward, but there are a whole host of decisions that the agency has already made over the last four or five years that are vulnerable based on the court's decision,” Tisdel said.

Last week, the BLM stripped its conservation-focused mission statement from agency news releases. The releases previously noted that the BLM sought to "sustain America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." The new language highlights the "economic" value of public lands.

King-Flaherty said the BLM needs to remember the public is watching.

"This is just another systematic way for the BLM to make sure the public's concerns are not considered,” she said. “And it also goes to show that the BLM is really just prioritizing industry profit over protecting the environment, community health and safety."

The BLM oversees more than 248 million acres of public land, primarily in the Western US.

Disclosure: Sierra Club, Rio Grande Chapter contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Public Lands/Wilderness, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The climate resilience package includes $1.5 billion for measures to better defend the state against wildfires. (Peter Buschmann/U.S. Forest Service)


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …

Social Issues

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …

Social Issues

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…

According to the World Health Organization, about one in six people age 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …


SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…

Roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. (JP Photography/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021